CNS News

Subscribe to the CNS News RSS feed

Golombek named Geosciences 2014 distinguished alumnus

Matt Golombek MS '78, PhD '81, has been honored as the Geosciences’ 2014 distinguished alumnus. Golumbek, senior research scientist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, is currently the project scientist of NASA’s Mars Exploration rover mission and is a science operations team chair for the Opportunity rover now exploring the Red Planet. He has led or been heavily involved in the selection of every successful Mars landing site over the past 20 years and is leading the landing site selection efforts for the InSight geophysical lander scheduled to launch in 2016 and the Mars 2020 Rover scheduled to collect a cache of samples for eventual return to Earth.

Peter H. Reinhart appointed founding director of the Institute for Applied Life Sciences (IALS)

UMass Amherst has hired Peter H. Reinhart, a veteran biopharmaceutical executive and researcher, to be the founding director of the Institute for Applied Life Sciences (IALS). Business West, WGGB-TV 40, Republican, Daily Hampshire Gazette, News release

Glamour names Wallach one of its "35 Women Under 35 Who Are Changing the Tech Industry"

Hanna M. Wallach, Computer Science, was among the "35 Women Under 35 Who Are Changing the Tech Industry," according to Glamour magazine. Wallach studies computational social science, machine learning analysis of structured and unstructured data, and Bayesian statistics. She collaborates with social scientists in the nascent fields of science and innovation policy and, more generally, computational social science. Her current NSF grant focuses on developing "New Methods to Enhance Our Understanding of the Diversity of Science." She also works to promote and support women's involvement in computing.

UMass system named 91st university in the world by Times Higher Education

The UMass system has been named one of the world’s top 100 universities by Times Higher Education in the magazine’s annual global survey. It moved to position no. 91, jumping 41 places in a single year and moving into the top 20 U.S. public universities. The UMass system also placed seventh among private and public universities in New England. Republican, Business West

Zoeller interviewed in article about babies born to mothers with high levels of perchlorate

Thomas Zoeller, Biology, was interviewed extensively in an article about a new study showing that babies born to mothers with high levels of perchlorate during their first trimester are more likely to have lower IQs later in life. Environmental Health News

Briseno develops long-sought polymer architecture to boost power-conversion efficiency of light to electricity

An international team led by Alejandro L. Briseno and including Kenneth R. Carter and Todd Emrick, all Polymer Science and Engineering, have found that by using single-crystalline organic nanopillars, or “nanograss,” they can get around dead ends, or discontinuous pathways, that pose a serious drawback when using blended systems for harvesting energy in organic solar cells, as reported in Nano Letters., Product Design & Development, Novus Light, Bio-Medicine, IEEE Spectrum, Red Orbit,, Nanotechnology Now,, Photonics Online, Science Daily,,, News release

Burrell's new book, "Reaching Down the Rabbit Hole," which he coauthored, is featured on NPR

A feature story on National Public Radio (NPR), looks at Reaching Down the Rabbit Hole a new book by Brian Burrell, Mathematics and Statistics, and Allan Ropper. Read more

UMass Extension celebrates 100 years

UMass Amherst celebrated the 100th anniversary of the creation of the Cooperative Extension Service with a program that included academic and community leaders, and farmers and business people responsible for keeping the Extension mission moving forward. The keynote address was delivered by Richard Sullivan, chief of staff to Gov. Deval Patrick and former secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs. Republican, News release

Clark interviewed by MSN Canada about the head lice resistance to chemicals used to kill them

John M. Clark, Veterinary and Animal Sciences, is interviewed extensively in an article about how head lice have built up a resistance to the chemicals used to kill them. MSN Canada

Dumont named vice provost for academic affairs at UMass Amherst

Elizabeth (Betsy) R. Dumont, Biology, has been named vice provost for Academic Affairs by Provost Katherine Newman. Her new duties include faculty development; streamlining laboratory renovation, hiring, and budget; leading the Academic Quality Assessment and Development (AQUAD) review process; and representing the campus to the Five College Consortium. "The range of responsibilities I have put on her to-do list is daunting," Newman says. "Fortunately, for all of us, she is not easily daunted!” Dumont will also continue her research and to direct the graduate program in organismic and evolutionary biology.

Kurose to head NSF's Computer & Information Science & Engineering Directorate (CISE)

James F. Kurose, Computer Science, has been selected by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to serve as assistant director for its Directorate for Computer & Information Science & Engineering (CISE). Named Distinguished Professor in 2004, Kurose has served in a number of administrative roles including chair of the department, interim dean, and executive associate dean of the College of Natural Sciences, and senior faculty advisor to the vice chancellor for research and engagement. His research interests include computer network protocols and architecture, network measurement, sensor networks, multimedia communication and modeling, and performance evaluation.

Bezanilla and Wu model in detail for the first time how plants position phragmoplast and direct cytokinesis

Magdalena Bezanilla and doctoral candidate Shu-Zon Wu, both Biology, present a detailed new model that for the first time proposes how plant cells precisely position a “dynamic and complex” structure called a phragmoplast at the cell center during every division and how the plant directs cytokinesis, as reported in the journal eLife., Bio-Medicine, Science Codex, Nanowerk,, Science Daily, Science Newsline, News release

Dumont awarded five-year, $1.91 million NSF grant to study how bats sense their environment

Elizabeth (Betsy) R. Dumont, Biology, and colleagues have received a five-year, $1.91 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to study how bats sense their environment and other individuals, including potential mates, in order to ensure survival and reproduction. News release

Richmond Honored with Meritorious Teaching Award in Herpetology

Alan M. Richmond, Biology, has received the Meritorious Teaching Award in Herpetology from the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists. The national award recognizes sustained commitment to superior teaching effectiveness and mentoring of students in the area of herpetology. Several of his students have gone on to successful careers in the field. In addition to his teaching, Richmond is widely recognized as an expert on New England frogs, salamanders, snakes, and turtles and was instrumental in creating the Massachusetts Herpetological Atlas. He is also herpetology curator for the campus’ Natural History Collections.

Craker interviewed by New England Public Radio about his inability to get federal approval to grow and study marijuana

Lyle Craker, Stockbridge School of Agriculture, was interviewed about the difficulties he encountered when he tried and failed to get federal approval to grow marijuana to study possible health benefits of the plant, despite support from the campus administration. New England Public Radio

Young quoted in National Geographic story about the autumnal equinox

The late Judith Young, Astronomy, speaking in 2011, was quoted in a National Geographic story about the autumnal equinox.

Russell and Emrick break electrode barrier with a more efficient, lightweight, inexpensive organic solar cell

Thomas P. Russell and Todd S. Emrick, both Polymer Science and Engineering, and their colleagues have developed a more efficient, easily processable, and lightweight solar cell that can use virtually any metal for the electrode, effectively breaking the so-called electrode barrier.,,,, Science Daily, Photonics Online, EETimes, Solar Daily,, SMTOnine, Lab Manager magazine, Industrial Safety and Security Source, News release

Lee is first recipient of Frances and Chou-Chu Hong Graduate Fellowship in Veterinary and Animal Sciences

Hoi Chang Lee, Veterinary and Animal Sciences PhD candidate, was named the first recipient of the Frances and Chou-Chu Hong Graduate Fellowship in Veterinary and Animal Sciences. Lee works with department head Rafael Fissore (right, in photo). The new fellowship was recently established by Jerry C. Hong (’93 ISOM), and Jason I. Hong in honor of their father, Chou-Chu Hong '73 PhD, DVM, who recently stepped down as President of Taiwan’s Level Biotechnology, Inc., and their mother, Frances Hong.

The annual CNS State of the College 2014 kicks off the start of the academic year

The CNS State of the College 2014 was held on September 4 to full crowd of faculty and staff. CNS State of the College 2014 gallery

Brigham-Grette profiled in Daily Hampshire Gazette

Julie Brigham-Grette, Geosciences, is profiled for her new position as chair of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences’ Polar Research Board and for being chief U.S. scientist for the International Lake El’gygytgyn Drilling Project in Siberia. The article also mentioned other UMass Amherst scientists involved with the study: Isla Castenada, Rob DeConto, and Stephen Burns, all Geosciences. Daily Hampshire Gazette, News release

Croft and Kevrekidis honored at Convocation 2014 with Award for Outstanding Accomplishments in Research and Creative Activity

W. Bruce Croft (left), Computer Science, and Panayotis Kevrekidis, Mathematics and Statistics, were presented with the Award for Outstanding Accomplishments in Research and Creative Activity at Faculty Convocation on Sept. 12. Croft is the founding director of the Center for Intelligent Information Retrieval, which combines basic research with technology transfer to government and industry partners. Kevrekidis is an applied and computational mathematician who focuses on the nonlinear dynamics of waves in a huge variety of physical contexts.

Cave, Simmons, and Eden join CNS Advising Center staff

Three new people have joined the CNS Advising Office: Carolyn Cave (left) has been named senior assistant dean, Charlana Simmons (middle) has been named the Advising Center's director of student success and diversity, and Cathy Eden (right) is the new academic advisor health profession. Welcome!

Dasgupta named CNS director of faculty equity and inclusion

Nilanjana (Buju) Dasgupta, Psychological and Brain Sciences, has been named director of faculty equity and inclusion. In this newly created position, Dasgupta will work with faculty to develop policies and programs that can be implemented college-wide to increase diversity in the hiring, retention, success, and satisfaction of faculty from underrepresented groups. She will also lead research and assessment of the needs of such faculty, and programs designed to address them; represent CNS to the chancellor’s faculty advisor for diversity and equity; and play an active role in CNS leadership.

UMass Amherst ranked 30th among public universities by U.S. News & World Report

The University of Massachusetts Amherst now ranks among the nation’s top 30 public universities, moving up 10 spots during the past year in the 2015 Best Colleges guide released by U.S. News & World Report. Among all national universities, public and private, UMass Amherst moved up an impressive 15 places this year, from No. 91 to No. 76, tied with eight other schools. News release

Stevens' newest book calls for expanded role of indigenous people's in worldwide conservation planning

A just-published book edited by Stanley F. Stevens, Geosciences, presents the latest original research and surveys transformative new approaches now being considered to enhance the rights of indigenous peoples worldwide to have a stronger voice in shaping conservation and park management policies that affect their traditional lands. The book, “Indigenous Peoples, National Parks and Protected Areas,” was released by the University of Arizona Press., Bio-Medicine,, News release